Sunday, August 19, 2012

When Garage Sales Reap Rewards

People place "Free" signs on items all the time, leaving their "trash" for others to pick through. Sometime ago I stumbled on a 1980s Shogun bike. Since it was near my workplace and I was pedaling myself, I continued on and my boss and I went back with his truck to retrieve the bike and store in his garage until the next time I drove a car. I wasn't interested in the bike per se, but the handlebars and tool bag. I also stripped the pedals with toe clips also—I could picture a use for those later. I love this Cannondale wedge bag. It's just the right size for tools, rag, and oil—all I need when traveling or touring. It comes with straps to hook it under the seat, though I often shove it in a pannier. I donated the rest of the bike to Bike Recycle. I knew they could do their magic and get it running again, providing someone with a sweet, steel-framed ride.

I've found all sorts of stuff this way, like a bike rack and fleece coat.

But the most recent treasure came from a garage sale. At least once a month I tootle on my bike with the purpose of following Garage Sale signs. It's the thrill of the hunt. I don't usually have any particular things in mind, other than to look. I straddle my bike if it's on a lawn, deciding if something captures my eye enough to get off and investigate. If they offer outdoor gear, that's an immediate dismount and whack the kickstand kind of perusing.

For a dollar—yes, one dollar—I got a trekking pole. It's made in Austria (EMS brand), expands to double it's size, and has the most comfortable handle. I was giddy. For one dollar I would have my own hiking pole for the hut-to-hut part of our adventure. I could leave it behind, should I need the space later, and not think much of it. But, because of how nice it is, I'll probably bring it home. Did I tell you it only cost one dollar?

What kind of bargains have you found at garage sales and giveaways?


  1. Friends and relatives know that dry chain lube runs thru my veins, so they give me bike-related stuff often. Uncle giving me his old bike may be the best to date. At the sales of strangers, and setting aside bike swaps as off-topic, I would go with some of the tools I have purchased very cheaply at garage sales to use on my bikes. Except for retirees parting with their beloved mechanics tools who always seem to be asking more than they're worth so that they don't actually have to sell them, an offer of one dollar usually goes a long way.

  2. I'm generally only looking for bikes at garage sales which are easily spotted from the street. Seldom do I go browse through the stuff for sale. I'm sure I'm missing out. I did spot a floor tire pump a couple weeks ago for cheap. I didn't need it but bought it to pass along to someone who does.

  3. Not bikey stuff but I've gotten lots of household goodies and clothes from garage sales, it makes me hate paying retail prices for things.

  4. Great find with the Trekking pole! I never used to use them, but, now I wouldn't be without them when hiking with pack.


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